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Experts Corner

Geoffrey Sher , M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinologist

Dr. SherEducated in South Africa, Dr. Sher was a Senior Specialist of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the prestigious Groote Schuur Hospital (the teaching institution for the University of Cape Town), where the world's first human heart transplant was performed. In 1975, he was recruited by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to assume a faculty position in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In 1979, Dr. Sher entered private practice in Nevada where he is currently a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. In 1982, Dr. Patrick Steptoe, the father of In vitro Fertilization (IVF), afforded Dr. Sher an opportunity to study under him at Bourn Hall in England. Dr Sher returned to the United States and in January 1983 opened the nation's first private, non-university based IVF center (the fourth IVF program in the USA), in Reno, Nevada. He is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology in South Africa, England and in the United States and also has Sub-specialty Board Certification in Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Between 1987 and 1998, Dr. Sher opened the California based Pacific Fertility Medical Centers (PFMC) with three locations. During his tenure with PFMC, Dr. Sher was largely responsible for the Group's emergence as one of the leading IVF programs in the nation. In ten years he propelled PFMC into the forefront of clinical performance and research, introducing several major medical break-throughs that impacted positively on the treatment of infertility. In 1990 Dr. Sher was the first to point to the fact that ultrasound evaluation of the uterine lining prior to IVF, allows for prediction as to the likelihood of a subsequent pregnancy. In 2000 he demonstrated that the administration of Sildenafil (Viagra) to women with poor endometrial linings, improves uterine blood flow and enhances hormonal thickening. In the field of reproductive immunology, Dr Sher was the first to link immunologic problems causally, to female-related resistant infertility and repeated IVF failure, introducing immunotherapies that have virtually doubled the IVF birthrates in such cases.

In 1995, Dr. Sher and his team introduced a novel consumer-friendly concept in fee structuring for IVF. This so called Outcome-Based Pricing (OBP)-arrangement granted eligible patients a 70-100% refund of medical fees, if they did not have a successful outcome after IVF treatment. In the absence of IVF insurance coverage, this risk-sharing financial arrangement was welcomed by IVF patients across the board, but was strongly criticized by almost all IVF physicians who felt that widespread introduction of such an arrangement would place them at financial risk. After waging a relentless and often single-handed crusade, Dr. Sher was successful in getting this plan accepted by SART, the IVF medical governing body, as well as by the IVF medical community. Currently, more than 50 of an estimated 350 IVF programs in the nation offer it as an option, in one form or another, to their patients.

Dr Sher is a strong proponent of accountability on the part of IVF programs for the success rates they report to consumers, favoring the establishment of an accreditation process for all centers that provide IVF and related services. He believes that in order to render IVF treatment affordable to all Americans, regardless of their socioeconomic status, government should mandate insurance coverage for couples undergoing IVF through providers who meet well defined, validated outcome-based performance standards.

Dr. Sher was a founding Board Member of SART. He has more than 200 accredited scientific publications and abstracts to his credit and has co-authored two consumer-oriented medical books; "Your Pregnancy," published by Simon and Schuster in the 1980's and "In vitro Fertilization, the A.R.T. of Making Babies", published by Facts on File. The latter is currently one of the most widely read consumer books on the subject of IVF, in the USA. "In vitro…" was written to assist infertile couples in evaluating their options with regard to the various advanced fertility procedures.

In 1998, Dr. Sher separated from PFMC to found the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM), a state-of-the-art facility that offers advanced fertility treatment and research. SIRM programs are located in programs in: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sacramento, St. Louis, Central IL, Chicago and soon to be in New York City (Spring 2004).

Dr. Sher has been influential in the births of more than 6,000 of an estimated 100,000 IVF babies born in the United States to date.

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